God, our Father in Heaven

Many of us are familiar with this prayer from Matthew 6:9-13 which says,

Pray then like this:

“Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name.[a]
10 Your kingdom come,
your will be done,[b]
    on earth as it is in heaven.
11 Give us this day our daily bread,[c]
12 and forgive us our debts,
    as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13 And lead us not into temptation,
    but deliver us from evil.”[d]

Matthew 6:9-13

Who is our Father in heaven?

Is he like men on earth?

What comes into your heart when you think of the word, “father”?

Do you shudder?

Does your heart melt?

It is so polarizing, depending on what kind of father or fathers we have known.

Have we experienced their kindness, or debilitating pain? Or some mixture of both?

Have they pushed their agendas & mindsets on us harshly, or even cared to ask for our thoughts? Or have they sat down with us and truly listened to every word, then weighed in with life-changing wisdom?

It’s good to know that God of the bible is called Abba. This word is Aramaic and is related to the Hebrew Av from which Abba or “father” is derived.

This is Daddy, or Papa, or Baba, a term of endearment towards a father.

Romans 8:15 speaks of God as Abba.
15 So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children.[a] Now we call him, “Abba, Father.”[b]

As I woke up today, the light was shining in all around me from a sunny day after many cloudy days.

I would go in and out of sleep and hear whispers to my heart of who I am, as God’s treasure.

Whispers from the Holy Spirit.

I do believe God to be three persons (Matthew 28:19-20). I know it doesn’t make sense, but I think it doesn’t make sense in a beautiful way, not an unintelligent way.

I’m thankful to not quite understand how God can be Father, Son and Holy Spirit. I love thinking on this mystery.

And I love addressing each one. The Holy Spirit makes Jesus known perfectly, and Jesus is a perfect representation of the Father. And the Father is “one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.” (Ephesians 4:6).

New International Version
The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven

Hebrews 1:3

I think my favorite thing I’ve come to recognize in interpreting Scripture from the Bible is seeing one principle repeated throughout all 66 books in different ways.

So I can find God as a father in the old testament and all throughout the entire Bible. These echoes and mirrors we can see throughout the 66 books makes me feel a sense of awe. So many different authors from different times and yet the connections are woven through every page. This is truly why I believe these words to be inspired by the Holy Spirit.

And so, “Father” becomes something new to me.

Something different and better than I’ve ever seen modeled to me.

I’m thankful for every moment my dad and my father-in-law have shown me what the Father-heart of God is like. It’s generous, giving everything to provide for me, listening, kind, turning attention towards me, enabling me to skip out on some things in life that would hurt me by sharing wisdom freely without judgement.

And yet, that is just a whisper of who God the Father really is.

I don’t know about you, but I need to keep getting to know Him.

I have been getting to know Him in reading His word, through talking to Him and listening for that still small voice, or His shouts in the beauty of nature.

He is so much better than we ever dreamed and He has good things in store for us.

God is like a mother, more nurturing than we ever dreamed and He has comfort for us.

God uses all of His power to reach our hearts. He never uses it against us.

Will you join me in forgiving our fathers who have gotten it so wrong sometimes?

I don’t say that lightly, for many of you have seen far more abuse and only terrible things from that man known as “father.”

But I truly have found that forgiveness releases all of that bad from me, and I imagine giving all of that brokenness to my Father in heaven, letting Him absolve it in Himself, in His Son who died for us and was resurrected, who conquered all of that horrible would-be inheritance.

And then we get to go free. To become good fathers and mothers ourselves, and ask His forgiveness when we fail in our own fallen state.

His goodness keeps coming for us. His forgiveness is always there.

HE is always here, present with us. Not absent. Never unkind. Always using His power to give us good things.

“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.”

James 1:17

I love the whole book of James, such a good read!

Much love to you,

Eilah, the princess- reminding me of how we are adopted by our good Father in heaven & called His royal ones.

2019- Year in Review

2019 will always be the year I had my baby girl.

She came to us “late” but early this year in February.

Such a sweet gift and perfect addition to our family.

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I just finished playing with my son, laying beside each other laughing inside his tent.

There’s nothing that fills my heart so much as quality time with my little family.

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And my larger fam. My heart is so full from a recent trip to Pennsylvania where I experienced the love of so many aunts, uncles, cousins, step-cousins and my immediate family as well all stayed together in our parents’ home.

My heart is also freshly grateful at the reminder of the brevity of life.

My heart grieves the brevity of this life and it also grows and stretches up into the hope and surety of my faith.

Eternal life.

Perfection of beauty.

Togetherness with God and all those who choose His love and just to simply believe.

He has saved us from our sins.

Sin= the ugly in each of us that separates us from God.

God= pure light & complete forgiveness.

Exchanging ashes for beauty.

 

I loved this year. Yet, it was really, profoundly hard.

I’m insanely proud of myself for how I handled really tough circumstances and challenging mindsets this year.

I didn’t always feel like I was winning, but I was.

And hey! Not only did I find a workout groove from 37-41 weeks pregnant in the beginning of the year, I was able to punch out 87 workouts from July on.

 

I’m proud of that and also just so grateful I can move my body.

I may be the heaviest this year that I’ve ever been by a lot, but I’ve learned that’s not a determining factor of beauty.

That comes from within and shines outward. And curvy isn’t ugly.

 

Dear One of my soul,

Thank You for life. For my husband who is the friend of my heart & life forever and the best person all around. For my teeny lady who is completely delightful and so beautiful & funny. For my son who taught and is teaching me the fun it is to be a mama and just how tightly love can weave its way into my heart for another human.

For my mom, who has weathered many storms with me and we always come forth stronger, more whole and more in love with each other with better tools on how to keep growing together. And my dear daddy who is the most amazing man I know before I met the most amazing man I know who is my husband. ❤

For my sister, who journeys with me through many things of heart & body and who also shows me how beautiful a life can be in many seasons of the soul.

For my older bro, who is not only fierce, but is someone to deeply love, easy to love and so deep and wonderful.

For my younger bro and his cats. 🙂

For my dear grandma and all the beauty she has grown on earth and the deep faith she has passed on to each of us.

For my dear grandma-in-law who is such a joyful person and loving generous Christian.

For my in-laws who have become even more deeply family and are a lot of fun for us all to be around and also oh so generous of heart.

For my coworkers who make life wonderful and help me to grow and be better.

For all who I love and who have loved me and mine.

XOXO,

Ailene

Why People Think MLMs are BAD for Women

What a title, eh?

Nope, I’m not Canadian!

My passion for (true) feminism is what led me to write this article.

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MLMS have a stigma, to say the least.

I’ve never paid too much attention to stigmas, especially when it comes to something I have solidly thought through, talked through with a few close people to get advice and ultimately is beneficial to my family.

One of these things is being a part of not one, but two multi-level marketing companies.

Why I love them: A community of people stand together and build their individual LLCs with the help of other small business owners, under a branch of a larger company that backs them. What could be better than that?

Well, small businesses mean dealing with people. And sometimes people can be a bit wild. Pushing for sales, overusing their relationship base. I think a lot of MLMs could benefit from asking their people to take business courses or having a requirement to that end.

The Stigma of MLMS and Why they are BAD for Women.

Oh my! I can’t believe that in this century people are not only writing this stuff; they are believing it.

Goodbye feminine power.

Goodbye equality.

Respect.

Ethics.

Sure, there is probably a woman out there who has no idea how to navigate relationships, is pushy and selling to people, seeing them as a number.

There is a probably a woman out there who is putting more money into the products than she is making a profit off of them.

But you don’t see articles slamming small business owners who are women in the same way.

You see, women can be naturally relational. So can men. Building up a network from some of those relationships is normal when a person goes into business. Historically, local businesses survive off of this network.

MLMs build communities. Most build the character of a person, encouraging personal growth and good leadership skills and that’s the sign of a good businessperson.

Yeah, the private messages on social media platforms that are random and don’t make sense are annoying.

Yeah, it would be better if people were more direct and didn’t come off as using your high school relationship status as another person to use and manipulate into their pyramid scheme.

But women are smart.

Women are good leaders.

(Men are smart and men are good leaders, but they aren’t usually being slammed like this).

So when you see a woman “hustling” don’t assume they are lazy, blind, incompetent and wasting their livelihoods.

Maybe they truly are successful.

Maybe on top of having a college degree, they have found something they love and decided to go for living a dream instead of what is expected.

Maybe they have a passion to help people’s lives be better. More beautiful (by selling makeup), having better health (by selling any number of health products), or more fit (by selling fitness stuff).

We should support these women if we want to, because they are small business owners.

If you have another thought on this topic and it doesn’t include an ancient mindset on the respectability of women, share below.

Thanks,

Ailene

Becoming what I wanted to be when I grew up

I have been doing my dream job for the past 8 years.

Since the age of 12, I dreamed of growing up to be a missionary.

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An African Children’s Choir came to our church and my family hosted two boys. It was such an amazing time. We had so much fun and I was deeply touched by them.

It was the summer after sixth grade, the last opportunity to attend Penn Del camp.

I went and missionaries to Africa spoke.

I bought the tape of music, and sang the words in Swahili over and over.

I still cry anytime anyone speaks of Africa and feel so privileged to have some friends from various nations on that continent.

At 15, the worship dance company I had just joined was invited to go to Honduras.

My family didn’t have the money to send me, but I dreamed about it anyway.

We were able to raise the funds and though it was only 14 days long, I fell in love with this nation. I couldn’t get the people out of my head, the language. I was immersed and so much so, I experienced culture shock coming back to the U.S.

It was a shock to come back to my home and see how big it was, a shock that we have so many different colors and styles of shoes. Shoes, that are just a necessity for protecting feet- here in the United States, I grew up with it being common to have a different shoe for each outfit. It struck me as the strangest thing in the world that I had pink shoes.

My parents’ home seemed so large. I had previously thought it medium or even small-sized. I was so grateful to have my own room.

This only solidified my desire.

I would grow up to be a missionary to Honduras. I would go to college to learn Spanish and become a teacher.

Well, I did grow up to go to ministry school. It was amazing.

For the first time in my life, I had classes on books of the Bible.

I grew up in public school and never had delved into Hermeneutics.

I love, loved it. Each day was the best, going to a new class and studying the history of many books of the Bible and just everything I loved it so much.

We went on a missions’ trip, to my pure delight, back to Honduras. I had cried as our plane left the ground as a 15 year old. As an 18 year old, I came back to a different Honduras. Even the poor had cell phones. It was wild. So different.

But I still was in love. And dreamed of going back to teach and love on children there.

I came home from that trip, graduated from ministry school (twice 😀 :D).

I went home to PA, living with my parents.

I was directionless, depressed. I thought I had this exciting life and now it felt like a failure.

Then commenced the sweetest season of falling in love with my parents all over again. The friendship & moments we shared during that season are still a foundation of the relationship we have today.

I didn’t have much going on or many friends and I began to spend time in worship and prayer.

Instead of wallowing in sadness and not knowing what was to come, I just dove into study of the word and prayer and reveled in the goodness of a real God, more real to me than I’d ever imagined possible.

From there, I got a new dream. To join a place that ministers to Jesus in worship and prayer 24/7. 24 hours a day, 7 days a week- it never stops.

And here I am, 8 years into this dream.

I’m a missionary to my own country of origin. It’s been so moving to stay. Not to go on the mission field but to stay and love my own family, friends and all of the beautiful people who have come here from so many nations of the world to call the United States home.

Who knows what is ahead, but I’m beyond thrilled to be living this dream come true.

Jesus is God. He’s man. He’s the one who bridges the gap between God in heaven, the Father and us, humans. He gives us all of His inheritance of light and life. In Him, we have the Holy Spirit. The One who draws us into the Father, into the Son and lives alongside of us as a help.

God’s light is never-ending.

In His light,

Ailene

A Poem- “Every Tragedy Ends in this Love”

I believe, I believe in the story
The one where I was loved
Since before I was
 
The one where the earth was created
For my enjoyment and tender care
 
The one where this loving being
Formed and fashioned me
Lovingly orchestrated me, my life
 
The one who I learned to trust
From a young age
Who has upheld me by love always
 
Every tragedy ends in this love,
All fear is banished
For I am loved, completely, tenderly, forever.
 
Love so amazing
So divine
Like no other feeling, no other substance
On earth, created.
 
Uncreated, pure, beauty, everlasting,
For me, today, for you, today
And ever always.
In light of all that is going on in our world, this is all I have to say.
Xoxo,
Ailene

Life, Forever & Right Now

Last night I had a moment.IMG_1550

Of thinking about existing forever.

Panic began to rise. I almost had to give in.

Then I took a step back and peered into that fear.

I think I felt terrified because the only existence I have experienced is this life.

And this life can be stunningly beautiful and it’s so meaningful, but it can also be so hard and even terrible.

And the burden of that…it’s too heavy beyond 70 to 100 years, with grace.

I think this would be a good place to share my beliefs.

I believe that heaven is a real place. Beyond my imagination.

I have felt very real moments, tastes of what it is like.

I believe that heaven is lit with the purest Being’s light. That He actually is light.

And I believe that I will live forever in close relationship with God.

All the dearest things of this life, I believe heaven is only that.

And more.

I still have fear rise up when I try to imagine me living forever.

But the truth is, we all know that this life is short. Even when it’s long, it’s short.

And yet, each day is so consuming and usually it’s so normal that it’s amazing to me that I can completely forget the forever part.

The death part.

I can’t truly forget it, though. And when I remember that I am made for heaven, more than this fallen world, my life gets even more beautiful.

A Father of light on His throne. Steadfast, ruling His kingdom with perfect peace and justice.

A perfect Son of the Father, whose life came into our world and who lived, died and was risen from death! He now lives in that human body, but it is glorified.

1 Corinthians 15 talks about the glorified bodies we are also promised as an inheritance.

The wild thing, the thing that makes Christianity different than every other religion that I have studied, is the inheritance part.

In Christianity, we don’t get our inheritance because of us. Because of our good deeds. Because we ate pure things. Because we did right while living here on earth.

Instead, our inheritance is given to us as a gift from the One who already did it. He already was perfect. God’s Son came to earth and lived a perfect life, took our punishment and lives again. And it was all the greatest love story ever.

Scripture describes us who believe as a collective Bride. To me, I have felt that this means that we each, equally have the opportunity to be close to the Lord. Our position is just like a bride and then a wife is to her husband. It’s a great analogy!

There is also the Holy Spirit. And oh, all Three are my favorite and are One, according to what I believe, but how I love the Holy Spirit.

He is the gentle voice I hear saying, this way Ailene, not that way. Say this, lovely one, you don’t have to say that. Go here, do this.

I believe that the Holy Spirit is perfectly communicating God’s voice and will to me.

And the level that He is personal…it is ASTOUNDING! Where are my keys, Holy Spirit? Instantly, my hands are on them. How will my crying son be able to take his nap? If I put the paci in his mouth just so & tuck his blanket one more time. Bam, he’s asleep.

Life in the right now, connected to heaven…there is no other way to live your best life. There’s no other way for me to live my best life, any who!

I’d be happy to continue the conversation.

What is your experience of life?

What are your beliefs?

I promise you’ll find a thoughtful and welcoming friend to talk to. I don’t believe in pushing my beliefs on people. That is impossible!

I believe in love. And the same love that won my entire heart, into eternity, can win yours. Hopefully, it already has!

You are loved, friend!

Xoxo,

Ailene